The Associated press has learned that umpire Kerwin Danley will soon be named the first African-American crew chief in baseball history. MLB will likely make the announcement official some time this week.
Danley, 58, called his first game in the majors in 1992 as a minor league fill-in and was hired as a full time big league up in 1998. He has worked two World Series and has worked ten other postseason rounds. He has also called two All-Star Games.
It’s quite a thing that it has taken until 2020 for there to be a black crew chief. Baseball, however, has historically lagged in hiring and promoting black umpires. The first black big league umpire — Emmett Ashford — did not make his debut until 1966, nearly two decades after Jackie Robinson broke the color line for players. In all, the Associated Press notes, there have been only ten black umpires in the game’s history.
As for Danley himself, in the nearly 11-year history of this website, we have only written one post about any bad calls he has made, and that was a very minor and ultimately meaningless bad call in a Rays-Orioles game in 2010. If you’re an umpire and you’re not making the news, you’re doing a good job.
Congratulations on the promotion, Kerwin Danley. Per what I said in the last paragraph, here’s hoping that we only mention your name when you are given postseason assignments in the coming years.
UPDATE: Major League Baseball just made the move official. In its press release, MLB announced that umpires Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth, Mike Everitt and Jeff Kellogg are retiring and that, in addition to Danley, Dan Iassogna, Alfonso Marquez, and Jim Reynolds will be elevated to crew chief roles.
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